GAU works hard to end fees, improve health insurance, get Family Medical Leave benefits, and everything else, but at the end of the day, we’re only as strong as our membership is. When you join GAU, you send a message to UF administration that you care about these issues and others that affect your working conditions. If GAU only has ten members, UF isn’t going to take us very seriously when we say that Graduate Assistants want, for example, to end fees. But if we have all 4,500 GAs at UF behind us, they’ll listen! All of our major victories, such as getting full tuition waivers, free health insurance, and fee deferrals, coincide with periods in time where we have high membership.
As with any labor union or professional organization, membership in GAU entails dues. Dues are 1% of your stipend, which for most GAs works out to about $2.50-$4 a week. All GAs benefit from the Contract, all GAs receive full tuition waivers, free health insurance, and all the rest, whether they are GAU members or not. But by becoming a dues-paying member, you contribute your fair share to the work that GAU does on your behalf and your colleagues’ behalf, and you invest in improving those rights and benefits for yourself and future generations of Graduate Assistants. If you’re interested in learning more details about what exactly your dues are used for, check out our Dues Breakdown Page.
Every year, about a quarter of the GA population graduates from UF, so about a quarter of our members leave as well. GA turnover rate is higher than nearly any other “industry” in the country. In order to maintain our strength, we must recruit new members all the time. If you’re interested in strengthening our voice, and investing in the work GAU does, join now!
Can GAU reduce the dues rate?
If you’ve already looked at our Dues Breakdown page, you already know that membership in GAU entails membership in the United Faculty of Florida (UFF), which is affiliated with the Florida Education Association (FEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA), and the American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). These other organizations advocate on behalf of organized labor and public education at the state and national level, fight lawsuits that UF-GAU does not have the resources to fight on its own, and provide various other means of legal support, liability insurance, and so forth, that UF-GAU is too small to provide for itself. They also provide professional training in union work such as collective bargaining and filing grievances (since GAs are only at UF for a few years, access to professional support is critical to our long-term viability). The Dues Breakdown page explains this in detail.
The dues we pay fund not only GAU’s work, but the work of these other organizations as well. In fact, since GAs are paid so little, our dues don’t even cover the membership dues in these other organizations. UFF actually subsidizes membership in GAU by covering the rest of the costs itself. While it costs UFF money to do this, UFF does it anyway, not only because today’s Graduate Assistants are tomorrow’s Professors, but also for the simple reason that it’s the right thing to do.
Graduate Assistants United at the University of Florida Your Union! Your Voice!